Reaching the 2nd Layer of Your Company’s Social Network

Social network mapping has been a popular buzzword with talent acquisition professionals for the last few years, but acquiring a solid understanding of how to build and use a map of our social networks is still well beyond our grasp. Most recruiters’ experience with social network mapping begins and ends with the LinkedIn Maps tool. While this is an excellent place to start, there are several limitations to the tool:

  • You can only see your first level connections
  • It’s difficult to navigate and sort through 1,000 to 10,000 dots and lines
  • Depending on your connections your map could take 30 minutes to load
  • You are just examining people that you’re connected to and not growing your network

Here’s a screenshot of my InMap … it looks like the most intense game of connect the dots on the planet.


At the ERE Recruiting Conference & Expo in Chicago I’ll be leading a session that will discuss strategies to reach the second layer of an organization’s social network. The strategy we’ll discuss places the organization at the center of the network with employees and friendly alumni on the first layer.

The second layer is comprised of connections that employees have access to contact on their social platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).

Accessing the second layer of contacts can fill talent pipelines and have a tremendous impact on the referral program. The image below provides an overview of the maps we can build and audiences we can reach.

maps and audiences

Sharing our content and building relationships with this group is of key importance because they already have ties to the organization. These relationships make them more likely to entertain career opportunities and increase retention when they do join our organization. Automated social sharing is one of the more interesting aspects of this strategy and allows employees and alumni to share job postings and blog content to the organization’s second layer with minimal effort.

The next image demonstrates how first-layer connections can select what type of company-created content they would like to share and on which network they would like that content shared.

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selecting content

Discovering who is in the second layer of the company’s social network, mapping target candidates, and leveraging current employees is a key component of building a targeted pipeline. By gaining access to their peers’ networks and learning how to quickly identify and map candidates who could be a fit for the organization, recruiters can leverage internal connections to fill open positions quickly.

This last example illustrates how Christy representing “The Company” can get introduced to 10 candidates by following this process.



If you are interested in learning how to teach your team to discover and leverage the second layer of your company’s social network, please join me in Chicago on September 17 and 18.

Eric Osterman’s career has been a hybrid of talent acquisition and digital media. He is currently the employment branding manager at Perficient, Inc. where he leads the marketing efforts for campus recruiting, colleague branding, and recruitment marketing. His passion is discovering new ways to use technology to give Perficient’s talent acquisition team the edge in the war for talent. When he’s not actively engaged in promoting Perficient’s employment brand, you can typically find him coaching his daughters’ tee ball team and pursuing his fourth fantasy football championship.


1 Comment on “Reaching the 2nd Layer of Your Company’s Social Network

  1. Great article, Eric. I particularly appreciate your inclusion of Alumni in the first-order network. Often times companies write off or forget about individuals who have left the organization, but those individuals may have great connections and, if they left under good circumstances, could be a tremendous resource for referrals. Thank you for this, and I so wish I was attending ERE this year so I could participate in your presentation!

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